Ay caramba! Mexican food on target to outsell Chinese

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Indy Lifestyle Online

Forget the chow mein and pass the enchiladas. Familiar Chinese food is falling out of favour with Britons who are attracted by spicy Mexican fare.

Forget the chow mein and pass the enchiladas. Familiar Chinese food is falling out of favour with Britons who are attracted by spicy Mexican fare.

Purchases of Latino items such as tortillas, refried beans, fajitas and quesadillas were up 10 per cent in the past year, the market analysts TNS said.

Sales of Chinese food such as sweet-and-sour sauce, spring rolls and prawn crackers fell by 1 per cent in the same period.

If the trend continues, Mexican food will overtake Chinese in the popularity stakes by 2007, TNS said.

Sales of Indian foods, such as naan bread, vindaloos and dahls, fell by 1 per cent to 44 per cent of the total market for the three ethnic types.

Mexican currently makes up 25 per cent of the market share for the three groups. The figures were based on the shopping habits of 15,000 households in Great Britain during the year ending February 2005.

TNS spokeswoman Rachel Argyle said: "If the current trend continues, Mexican will have overtaken Chinese to become the UK's second favourite ethnic cuisine in 2007."

James Beaton, founder of the Mexican grocery brand Discovery Foods, said: "Indian and Chinese have been huge favourites with Brits for many years, so perhaps it's not surprising that people are now starting to look elsewhere for a spicy, ethnic fix."

Other items listed as Mexican included: chilli con carne, vegetarian chilli, Mexican sauces, tortilla chips, salsa and taco shells.

Goods described as "ethnic" were Chinese, Mexican and Indian but did not include European foods such as Italian. The three food categories did not include frozen or ready meals. The figures were for grocery sales, not for take-aways.

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